From now on I will refer to these posts as FTYKS… because the title makes it sound like I’m sending out some kind of bitter diatribe about others’ parenting skills, which is not at all what I’m doing. I’m trying to better myself by taking time, each day, to work on core skills with my two baby beans so they don’t get to preschool and are all like, “Alphabet? What’s the alphabet? I can pick my nose!” No thanks. I refuse to be the parent that makes her kids into those children. Now, if they become those kids all on their own, well… I’ll sleep at night knowing it’s them, not me. True Story.
As you read in the first post, I love these bingo markers that I found online, and was super surprised when jumped right in and went to town on them. Monday we looked at the letter A, Tuesday we did B, Wednesday was C, and Thursday was D. It’s kind of fun to see the progress you get through the week. The letter C kind of makes me wonder if maybe my little darling is ready for some simple tracing after all. She started doing dots following the shape of the C, not putting the dots where they belong. Hmmm….
One of the best parts is when Sophie and Charlotte get to do things together. Even though Charlotte is a year younger, I really try to have her participate in whatever we are doing, and save what she really can’t do to when Charlotte is sleeping. Each activity needs to be slightly modified for her, but she doesn’t seem to mind. Especially if there are markers involved. And there are always markers.
But even she gets to do some of the “big girl” stuff. Her attention span is much shorter so it never lasts very long before you have to swap directions to keep her from eating all the art supplies.
I also try to do a fun gluing/cutting/experimenting project as well. This week, because my idea was so spur-of-the-moment-feeling-like-a-genius I was sort of unprepared and just used what I had on hand. But we were still able to be pretty creative with the projects we did. A, B, and D I just free-hand drew some kind of silhouette for the girls to decorate as they saw fit, trying to bring varying textures and materials to make it more interesting.
C for caterpillar was supposed to be really awesome… We used celery stalks to do a “stamping” effect but instead of making the bodies of the caterpillars (those round balls were supposed to be the head of the three caterpillars) but I got a mosh pit of stamping, globbery fun instead. Whatever. I’ll take it. D for Dinosaur was kind of a bust because I checked out a cool National Geographic book all about dinosaurs (Sophie’s obsession right now) and after reading it over, and over and over for about an hour I was all, “Hey! Let’s do something else that’s fun!” But she liked the book better, so after she got her fair share of stickers and markers on paper, she was back to the dinosaur book. You live and learn I guess. B was the best though (haha B is for Best).
We made banjos! Got the idea from here. Their banjo was way nicer than ours turned out, but who cares because the girls carried their banjos around all day. And did you notice in the picture of the girls doing their Cs that there is a very prominent pink banjo sitting on the table. When things are good, things are really good!
It was also amazingly snowy on Tuesday so this happened:
B is for Ball too. Totally not in the lesson plan, but we loved it.
Probably one of the cutest things ever is babies in their snow gear. Some days the lesson plan just has to get thrown out the window to enjoy life. For C day we also cooked a yummy Chocolate Cake, accidently with gluten free flour but whatevs, the girls loved these sort of spur-of-the-moment activities.
D is also for Dig. In Sophie’s dinosaur book it talked a lot about excavating dinosaur bones, so I put together a little excavation site for her. I think this could actually be really fun in the summer when you can actually bury things in dirt (we all know how much kids love dirt) but this worked great too. Normally this bin is just filled with rice, beans and varying sizes of scoops but today I also gave Sophie, this was definitely a Charlotte is sleeping activity, a paintbrush and sort-of-sifter. Then I buried a couple of little plastic toys for her to find. We have like, a thousand of these toys that we got as a gift but I think you can get them pretty much anywhere.
She just kept finding them and re-burying them. I just took pictures. I said it was important to historically document her progress, I think I may have gotten my very first eye roll.
Really a fun afternoon activity. I’m thinking of doing more things like this where we hide gems, or puzzles pieces or a whole slew of other things that would be fun to dig up. Sensory bins (really big in Montessori teaching) are a great way to get them discover new textures, objects and spacial values. Good all around.
We also worked on our counting to twenty this week (though I’m thinking we’ll be spending several weeks on this concept) and have been counting beans, cars and then, one of my favorites, beads on a bracelet. Sophie, Charlotte and I all made bracelets and then counted all the beads on each one. It was kind of fun because Sophie was then saying things like, “Mommy’s wrist is big, you need twenty-five beads.” or “Charlotte is so tiny, she only has twelve beads!” Gosh I love toddlers.
Great fun all around. Today we did a review day of all the letters using our sandpaper letters and then took a trip to the Animal Humane Society with my brother because C is for cat and D is for dog. They L.O.V.E.D. it. In fact, Sophie has now been telling me how much we need a dog, but not a black dog (“B is for black”) a yellow dog (“Mommy, yellow is for yellow”). Charlotte just wants all of them. All animals. They must be hers.
So there you have it. The first FTYKS week! I’m excited about next week. I’ve learned a lot from this week but the best lesson I’ve learned is that teaching your kids doesn’t have to be expensive. Look around at what you have. Figure out what you all like to do on a regular basis and just tweak it a bit to incorporate the lessons you’re trying to teach. I was so worried that all the ”good” activities were going to require me to go out and buy everything on the Michaels and JoAnn Fabrics’ shelves, but I think I only ended up spending $5 for beads, string and bingo markers. Everything was already stuff I had on hand.
Search the web, there are dozens and dozens of fun websites out there completely devoted to toddler/preschool activities, use them. You don’t have to be creative, go copy what everyone else is doing. No shame in that, they’re posting it on the web so you have access to it. You’ll feel all crafty and awesome making a banjo with your kids, and then brag about it to Grandma and Grandpa. Best. Idea. Ever.
How about you guys? Did you guys start trying to make an intentional effort to be a teacher to your little beans? Do you think it’s better to just see what happens or to try and plan out activities? Ready for the warm weather and some hard-core gardening? Me too! Except maybe just some lite, half-a$$ed gardening. March can’t come soon enough!